4 - The Michigan Daily - Wednesday, April 3, 2002
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Unless otherwise noted, unsigned editorials reflect the opinion of the majority of the Daily's
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him being called a
drug dealer. I think
that was really
1'MAMOVING BACK TO0
I'M GV-1N G MY OWN~
I'M VINNIX Y MOav G INfTO
- Howell parent Jean Stone, on her son's
suspension from Northwest Elementary, as
quoted in yesterday's Ann Arbor News. The
11-year-old was one of20 Northwest students
to be suspended for the distribution of plastic
baggies containing Kool-Aid powder,
Jell-O mix and sugar.
M1LWAI L ACxSON GUY DNCS
LV~. YL c~ekAbene
The multicultural barrier to a more secular world
NICK WOOMER BACK TO THE WOOM
it's time to put an end to ing AIDS and other misery across the developing for its literary value, but in order to "appreciate"
multiculturalism and its world as a result of its no birth control policy is its supposed spiritual value I have to first be open
sickly cousin political similarly mostly ignored so as not to offend our to certain assumptions - ones that, for petty rea-
correctness. Rather than multicultural sensibilities. sons such as a total lack of evidence, I am quite
encouraging enlightened The point here is that multiculturalist senti- unwilling to grant.
appreciation of cultures other ments - that peoples' sacred institutions ought Thus, the multiculturalist would present me
than one's own and recogniz- not to be interrogated, mocked, questioned or ... with the following, totally nonsensical dilemma:
ing the horrors of western exposed solely because they are sacred - have If I reject the divine origin of the Koran, then I
imperialism - both laudable prevented, countless times, legitimate criticisms cannot properly appreciate it, and if I cannot
goals - multiculturalism has and conclusions from being publicly voiced apro- properly appreciate the Koran but I nevertheless
become a barrier to penetrating criticism of insti- pos of some people's sacred cows. continue to reject its divine origin then I am igno-
tutions and practices some people hold dear. This rant. So basically, if I were to hurt the feelings of
is an issue that conservatives and a growing num- Hypocrisy a devout Muslim by telling him or her that the
ber of radicals agree on - although for very dif- Why it's OK for black rappers to use the N- Koran is just as man made (and man-inspired) as
ferent reasons. word is only the tip of the iceberg. While simulta- the Bible, The Celestine Prophecy or, for that
All multiculturalists are guilty of one of the neously proclaiming respect for all cultures, it is matter, a Danielle Steel novel, I would be igno-
following: 1) they gloss over truth for the sake of no secret that many-a-multiculturalist will allow rant.
cultural sensitivity, 2) they are hypocrites, 3) they the criticism of WASP culture (which, more often The result of this diabolic ideology, then, is to
embrace an unacceptable level of moral rela- than not, deserves to be attacked) while making equate "insensitivity" (or frankness) with igno-
tivism. criticism of minority cultures far more treacher- rance - positions are ignorant, then, if they
ous. offend; that can't be good for free, public dis-
Hiding the truth Additionally though, we are all allowed to course.
In his latest column for The Nation, Christo- criticize any group we may have been bom into.
pher Hitchens notes the lackadaisical approach Under multiculturalism, since I was raised Moral relativism
most in the media have taken to the "revelations" Catholic it isn't considered bigotry for me to This one's pretty easy. The radical multicul-
that the goodly Rev. Billy Graham is an anti- blame a good part of the world AIDS epidemic turalist refuses to pass judgment on other (minori-
Semite and that the Catholic Church has spent on John Paul II and his cronies. However, for ty) cultures. These are the people who think
decades covering up priests' sexual abuse of chil- many multiculturalists, I cross the line when I condemning, say, female circumcision or slavery
dren. Graham's apology is taken at face value; he proclaim that the Koran's origin is certainly as, in Africa is a form of gross cultural imperialism.
has undergone much less media scrutiny than equally not divine as the Bible's or that the Mor- No.
black religious leaders like Jesse Jackson, Al mon church is a bogus cult or that the rituals Multiculturalism is not the antidote to West-
Sharpton and Louis Farrakhan who have made orthodox Jews subject themselves to on the Sab- ern cultural chauvinism it purports to be, and
similar comments. bath are actually quite ridiculous. Now I'm being people who are against it are not all necessarily
Meanwhile, and perhaps more demonstrative- mean, hurtful, insensitive and... ignorant! cultural chauvinists (although a good number of
ly, the Catholic Church enjoys similar plush treat- It's worth delving into the "ignorant" epithet, the conservative critics of multiculturalism are).
ment. Instead of proclaiming what is clearly the because it implies that if only I knew more about Multiculturalism has given every religious
truth - that the Church is, as Hitchens aptly put the Koran, Mormonism or Sabbath rituals - if believer an infinite stack of "get out of jail free"
it, "a protection racket for child rapists" - Amer- only I had an "appreciation" for them - I would cards; it's time to take that stack away.
ican journalists have tiptoed around the issue and not be so quick to air derisive comments about
thus equated the sexual abuse of children with them. But what does "appreciation" really mean? Nick Woomer can be reached
mere "controversy." The Church's role in spread- I might still, for example, appreciate the Koran at firstname.lastname@example.org.
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
'Validating acts of violence
from either side' of Middle
East conflict not the answer
TO THE DAILY:
In my four years at the University, I have
never before thought of the Daily as advocat-
ing or even not condemning terrorism. How-
ever, in Monday's column (She was from
Deisheh, Palestine, 4/1/02), Amer Zahr wrote
such understanding words relating to the of
killing innocent citizens that my opinions of
the Daily might have changed.
His claim that strapping a bomb onto one-
self and walking into a room full of innocent
civilians for the explicit purpose of killing
everyone in the room is "impulsive and
wanting to die" is ludicrous. "Impulsive and
wanting to die" is jumping off a bridge. Cre-
ating a destructive devise, deciding on a
place to detonate it and then carrying through
vwith the attack is done with the same reckless
disregard for the sanctity of innocent human
lives as driving a plane into a building.
Zahr has warped sense of morals claiming
that two wrongs create a right helps to
explain why the endless cycle of violence in,
Israel doesn't have a foreseeable end. Peace
will not arrive until everyone can take a step
back and realize that mistakes have been
made by both parties. Validating acts of vio-
lence, from either side, isn't the answer.
Zahr 'clueless;' suicide
bombers just as calculating
as Sept. 11 terrorists
TO THE DAILY:
The latest installment of blatant ignorance
has pushed me past just reading and laughing
at The Progressive Pen. Amer Zahr's column
on the girl from Deisheh needed to be
responded to. Zahr's voice is not a valid rep-
resentation of all his fellow Palestinians, the
Palestinians that I have talked to who live in
Israel were completely against suicide bomb-
ings. Zahr is clearly clueless on the subject.
He asserts that Palestinian suicide
as many as possible. The reason that nails are
sometimes packed around the bombs is to
kill and injure as many as possible, but this
could not be "deliberate" right?
While Zahr "felt relief to learn it had not
been Manaar who decided to take her life that
day," most people are disgusted by such cow-
ardly and murderous acts. Every day I watch
the news and the casualties rise. I know no such
relief from suicide bombings, only sadness.
Most Palestinians know that their cause is
never helped by suicide bombings; Hamas and
others (Hezbollah, the PLO) are trying to stop
any Peace Process and they seem to be suc-
ceeding. Zahr speaks of "commitment to the
struggle of (his) fellow Palestinians" yet all he
does is urge people to look past the suicide
bombings, as if the murder of real people -
young girls, mothers - and men - is some-
thing to look past. Zahr may as well be in the
parade celebrating these "martyrs" and throw-
ing candy with other lunatics.
'Acting like a bunch of
turkeys' bad for Palestinian
cause, public perception
TO THE DAILY:
Terrorism is an ugly demon inflicting
pain upon many innocent people and this
must be despised by the values of our great
country. Zahr sings songs for peace and
dances for the release of military presence
in your "country" and yet he does not abhor
the illegitimate acts of violence which
destroy the hope his "country" sings and
Zahr stated that Palestinians do not
commit calculated and deliberate acts of
terrorism and that Palestinians are, acting
with dejected, impulsive and righteous
minds. Unfortunately, calculated terrorism
begins in the foothills and develops in bril-
liantly dejected and impulsive minds.
And in reference to the Twin Towers,
the terrorists of Sept. 11. had bigger bombs
strapped to their chest. Mr. Zahr, the time
of written love letters to your "country" has
passed; take off this righteous cloak your
wear. Zahr creates barriers to his own cause
be refusing to deplore illegitimate, destruc-
more sound-minded decision avenues.
Separation of church, state
correctly exempts clergy
from sexual disclosure
TO THE DAILY:
I fear that it is necessary to point out that the
catchy lead on the Associated Press article,
Clergy exempt from sexual disclosure, in the Fri-
day's Daily edition -begs but does not answer
the question, "Why?"
I wish that some editing had been done to
the story to make sure that readers are kept
aware that this is a first amendment issue; the
separation of church and state. To quote the
story's lead line, "Michigan health care
workers, social workers and educators must
tell police if they suspect a child has been
But clergy don't face the same require-
ment." The reader should be driven to ask,
"Why not?" The answer, obvious to me, is
"Because all the named occupations are public
employees. Clergy are not." Readers should be
clear on the fact that these employees have
totally different responsibilities to the public.
Clergy have no more responsibility to report
suspected abuse than does your favorite wait-
ress. Nor should they.
I am not at all concerned about the issues of
confessional confidentiality, which seems to be
the main focus of those interviewed for the
story. That is an internal matter for those
denominations that have such ritual. I am wor-
ried that this article and others like it may be
the beginning of a drive to make clergy liable
under state law for reporting to the state.
This is not separation of church and state,
anymore than requiring membership in a state
sponsored church was for holding political
office, back in England in the 18th century. The
alert student may recall that we fought a revolu-
tion over that issue, among others. When the
state requires clergy to take actions other than
those required of any citizen, it goes too far in
restricting the free exercise of religion.
Despite the long-standing American tradi-
tion of viewing clergy as public servants, lead-
ers, counselors and watchdogs for the greater
good, they are nothing more than citizens who